Laura Meder,meder2
Associate Professor of Biology

Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 434-791-5770
Office: Frith Hall 309

“You get the travel bug,” says Professor Laura Meder, summing up one way she influences her Biology students. Yes, she has always been interested in animals (she currently has nine cats), but travel with Biology majors — ah, international travel — that’s one special key to her success.

“Whenever we can get our students outside the classroom and even outside the country, that’s when they learn the most,” she says. “Going outside gets them to recognize the value of pushing themselves in different directions. And you know, that learning experience is different every time, every day, for every student.”

Meder certainly has taken her students “outside.” She has conducted study trips to places as exotic as Africa (for the animals and for a different ecosystem), Belize (to study dolphins), Suriname (for sea turtles) … plus Costa Rica and Mexico.  “Short (one-week to nine-day) trips are baby steps, aimed at students who have never traveled,” she explains. “When they like that, they consider taking trips of a month or longer.”

She adds that one student worked last summer as an Alaskan river guide, one Suriname-trip student now lives in Korea and another is planning another international trip.  “The trips let us get to know them really well,” she says, “although we certainly know all our students, even those who do not choose to travel. As biology teachers, we have them for labs as well as lectures, and that helps a lot. In the labs we work with them individually, plus we get to talk while we’re waiting for experiments to complete.”

Meder believes in introducing students to people and networks that can start them thinking about new paths and different options for their own lives: “Teaching, to me, is all about helping students recognize their own potential.”  One student at a time, at home and abroad.


Master of Science, Environmental Management, University of London

William T. Moore
Assistant Professor of Biology

Email: [email protected]
Office: Frith 318
Phone: 434-791-5771



  • Ph.D. in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Molecular and Cellular Sciences Track, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Preparing the Future Professoriate Graduate Certificate, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • M.S. in Biology, Fort Hays State University
  • B.S. in Biological Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Diabetes, Metabolism, Insulin signaling, Human nutrition, Bioactive phytochemicals, Cell and molecular biology, Microbiology, Anti-microbial resistance, Contemporary pedagogy

Stephanie Pattonssmith
Instructor of Biology

email: [email protected]
Phone: 434-791-7176
Office: Frith Hall 312




  • Master of Science, Human Anatomy, University of Dundee (Dundee, Scotland)
  • Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Science, Averett University